标签: 乔布斯 改变 | 发表时间:2011-10-10 21:58 | 作者:qjopinion Aaron Xu

译者 qjopinion

As seemingly everyone on the planet knows, Steve Jobs’s defining quality was perfectionism. The development of the Macintosh, for instance, took more than three years, because of Jobs’s obsession with detail.  He nixed the idea of an internal fan, because he thought it was noisy and clumsy. And he wanted his engineers to redesign the Mac’s motherboard, just because it looked inelegant. At NeXT, the company Jobs started after being nudged out of Apple, in 1985, he drove his hardware team crazy in order to make a computer that was a sleek, gorgeous magnesium cube. After his return to Apple, in 1997, he got personally involved with things like how many screws there were in a laptop case. It took six months until he was happy with the way that scroll bars in OS X worked. Jobs believed that, for an object to resonate with consumers, every piece of it had to be right, even the ones you couldn’t see.

好像地球人都知道,乔布斯对质量的要求近乎完美。比如麦金托什计算机,就因为乔布斯对细节的执着,才使得它的开发花了三年多的时间才完成。他觉得电脑加内置风扇是愚蠢的行为,而且会产生噪音,所以他否决了这个想法。他还会要求他的工程师重新设计Mac的主板,就仅仅因为他觉得那主板看上去比较粗糙。在1985年被苹果公司扫地出门后,乔布斯开办了NeXT公司。在NeXT,他要求他的硬件小组把电脑设计成一个光滑精致的镁盒,这几乎把他的硬件小组给逼疯了。1997年他回到苹果公司后,就连笔记本电脑需要多少个螺钉他都亲自过问。OS X操作系统里滚动条的工作方式,做到他满意花了6个月的时间。乔布斯相信,一个商品要与顾客产生共鸣,必须每个细节都精益求精,即使是一些你看不见的地方也不能放过。

This perfectionism obviously had a lot to do with Apple’s success. It explains why Apple products have typically had a feeling of integrity, in the original sense of the word; they feel whole, rather than simply like collections of parts. But Jobs’s perfectionism came at a price, too. It could be literally expensive: back in the eighties, Jobs insisted that in magazine ads and on packages the Apple logo be printed in six colors, not four, which was thirty to forty per cent more expensive. And there were more important costs: Jobs’s vision required Apple to control every part of the user experience, and to make everything it possibly could itself. Its hardware was proprietary: the company had its own Mac factory and favored unique cables, disk drives, and power cords, rather than standardized ones. Its software was proprietary, too: if you wanted to run Apple software, you needed to own an Apple computer. This made Apple’s computers more expensive than the competition. It also made them hard to customize, which businesses didn’t like. So, while Apple changed the world of computing in the eighties, with machines that were more user-friendly and powerful than your typical I.B.M. clone, most users never touched a Macintosh. They ended up with P.C.s instead.


When Jobs returned, he still wanted Apple to, as he put it, “own and control the primary technology in everything we do.” But his obsession with control had been tempered: he was better, you might say, at playing with others, and this was crucial to the extraordinary success that Apple has enjoyed over the past decade. Take the iPod. The old Jobs might well have insisted that the iPod play only songs encoded in Apple’s favored digital format, the A.A.C. This would have allowed Apple to control the user experience, but it would also have limited the iPod market, since millions of people already had MP3s. So Apple made the iPod MP3-compatible. (Sony, by contrast, made its first digital music players compatible only with files in Sony’s proprietary format, and they bombed as a result.) Similarly, Jobs could have insisted, as he originally intended, that iPods and iTunes work only with Macs. But that would have cut the company off from the vast majority of computer users. So in 2002 Apple launched a Windows-compatible iPod, and sales skyrocketed soon afterward. And, while Apple’s designs are as distinctive as ever, the devices now rely less on proprietary hardware and more on standardized technologies.


The iPhone signalled a further loosening of the reins. Although Apple makes the phone and the operating system itself, and although every app is sold through the App Store, the system is far more open than the Mac ever was: there are more than four hundred thousand iPhone apps written by outside developers. Some are even designed by Apple’s competitors—you can read on the Kindle app instead of using iBooks—and many are so inelegant that Jobs must have hated them. Such apps make the iPhone messier than it would otherwise be, but they also make it much more valuable. The old Jobs might well have tried, in the interest of quality, to contain the number of apps: he always talked about how saying no to ideas was as important as saying yes. Though Apple does vet apps to some extent, the new Jobs essentially said, Let a thousand flowers bloom.


The introduction of the iPad has ratified this new reality, since developers have already released more than a hundred thousand apps for the tablet. The result is that the network effects that worked against Apple in the eighties, making it essentially a boutique company, are now working in its favor: the more apps Apple’s products have, the more people want to use them, which, in turn, makes developers want to develop for them, and so on.


There’s no doubt that Apple’s success in the past decade depended on Jobs’s uncanny ability to introduce products that captured the zeitgeist. But what turned Apple into the most valuable company on the planet was that Jobs did more than just create cool new devices. Rather, he presided over the creation of new market ecosystems, with those devices at their heart. And if the ecosystems were more chaotic than he might have liked, they were also more powerful and more profitable. It’s true that, by the standards of today’s open-source computing world, Apple’s platforms are still very much closed. After all, when Google designed a phone operating system, Android, it simply handed it out to phone manufacturers to use as they liked. But, by the standards of its old ethos, Apple is much more open than one would ever have thought possible. In giving up a little control, Jobs found a lot more power. ♦


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